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Preparing a Canvas for Oil Painting

38 thoughts on “Preparing a Canvas for Oil Painting”

    • Hi Erik –

      Thanks for the email and the common question as it does sound contradictory but let me try to explain, as really it is just carving out a very limited exception. GAC 200 is definitely a hard polymer but like many hard materials, flexibility can be very dependent on film thickness. Just to be very rough about it, think of the difference between aluminum foil and aluminum sheet, or imagine starting with a 1″ thick piece of Plexiglass and mentally you can see how, as you think of it getting thinner and thinner, it would also become more and more flexible and able to bend, until once you are down to something the thickness of a sheet of paper, you are likely as flexible as a sheet of standard Mylar. So our general guidelines for using GAC 200 still holds, where we don’t recommend using it on flexible supports, especially by itself, because it is easy to use it too thickly. But as a size, where it is mostly soaking into the canvas and not really forming a film of any appreciable thickness, it has sufficient flexibility to be rolled up or stretched.

      Hope that helps but if you have other questions, just ask!

      Reply
  1. Hey Sarah-

    Thanks for the article! I went to a traditional school and have made my supplies ever since. As you mentioned zinc isn’t found in grounds made by the larger paint companies. What has been frustrating is that it is used as a ground by the large Canvas/Linen companies like Artfix and Claesons. I noticed today Fredrix doesn’t even mention whats in their oil priming is atleast on the jerrys site. I worked in a gallery for a year selling paintings and one of our artists used claessons because he doesn’t have time to prepare his own and they are the best available he has found. It doesn’t seem fair to the artist who puts a year in on a piece or the client that pays $30,000 for one of his paintings that this painting could fall apart. Throughout history artists have had panel makers and prepared canvas they can rely on. So far every commercial Linen canvas board I’ve taken apart I’ve been able to rip apart with my hands. One of our artist who made over $200,000 with us while I was there used only centurion. When I spoke to jerrys they told me it’s professional quality and from the way it looks and feels I can’t blame her for thinking otherwise. But the canvas board I took apart from centurion ripped like computer paper. I could be totally wrong and these could all be built to last as long as they hang on a wall. What are your thoughts on supports? I’ve been making my own traditional panels but would like to switch to a primed Linen I can trust to save myself time. Do you have any you trust?

    Reply
    • Hi Ryan –

      We completely agree that the situation for preprimed supports is troublesome and difficult to get information about. Many years ago there was actually some interest in creating an ASTM Standard in order to set some minimum quality and performance requirements but sadly it went nowhere. As for our own preferences and advice, while purchasing preprimed canvasses can save time, making one’s own will almost always lead to a higher quality product with the advantage of knowing exactly what went into it. As for history, while we might be tempted to romanticize and imagine a lost world of absolute quality, the same problems in quality and confidence seems to have been part and parcel from the earliest days. Robert Dossie, in The Handmaid to the Arts, 1758, states:

      “…..the pieces of canvas prepared by proper primings, are then by painters called cloths. But these cloths, though they are dispensed with in general, because painters think it too much trouble to prime them themselves, and therefore make shift with what the colourmen will afford them, who on their side likewise consult nothing but the cheapest and easiest methods of dispatching their work, are yet at present prepared in a faulty manner in several respects. In the first place, the whole covering is apt to peel and crack off from the cloth, by the improper texture of the under coat, which is formed of size and whiting; and is both too brittle, and too little adhesive, either to the cloth or upper coat, to answer well the purpose. In the second place the oil used in the composition of any paint used on such grounds, is extremely apt to be absorbed or suckt in by them; and consequently to leave the colours, with which it was mixt, destitute in a great degree of what is necessary for their proper temperament. This is called, though improperly, the sinking in of the colours, and is attended with several inconveniencies; particularly, that the effect of the painting appears very imperfectly while the colours are in this state, and deprives the painter, as well as others, of the power of judging properly of the truth of the performance….Whoever therefore would have good cloths, free entirely from this disadvantage, must direct the preparation of them themselves.” (goo.gl/c6x0fP)

      Which is not to say that there also exists many positive historical reports, as well as conservation findings, attesting to the high quality of available preprimed canvases, but simply that problems of reliability and workmanship existed from the beginning and artists were always confronted with issues of trust when deciding to purchase prepared supports. If nothing else, one can definitely sense a closer working relationship in the past between small suppliers and artists that was later superseded by larger commercial companies in the 19th century, when preprimed canvases started to be a more mass produced, standardized product.

      In terms of quality suppliers, you might take a look at some of the higher end, smaller suppliers that offer hand primed, made-to-order canvases, such as Simon Lui (http://simonliuinc.com/pre-primed/) or Soho Arts (https://www.sohoartmaterials.com/component/virtuemart/384/pre-primed-linen/soho-hand-primed-belgian-linen.html?Itemid=457). Obviously these can be pricey, so depending on your budget and needs, might not be a viable route. Beyond that, reaching out and making direct contact with various suppliers might be the only way to get a sense of what goes into their products and whether anything can be customized to your own specs. Unfortunately Claessens, which is otherwise a better quality product, uses zinc in their oil priming and that – as you know – is felt to be very problematic. I have personally stayed less up to date on other suppliers, but unless you can get assurances otherwise, zinc seems to be a ubiquitous component in premade oil primed canvases as a way to combat yellowing, so finding a zinc-free product might not be easy to do. Until then, making your own and celebrating the quality and confidence it provides, might be the best route if not the most convenient.

      Hope that helps.

      Reply
  2. I always prime my canvas with acrylic gesso and apply three coats. In the past year I have notice that my paintings (that I have done recently but not older paintings) are getting an image on the back of the canvas. From this post I see that it is called strikethrough. I have been stretching and priming my own canvas for over 10 years and paintings that are 10 years old do not have this but some of my most recent paintings do. Did I just get a bad batch of gesso? What will happen to these paintings? Is there anything I can do to fix them?

    Reply
    • Hi Malia – Thanks for commenting. Our first question would be if the brand of acrylic gesso has remained the same, as well as if there has been any other changes – such as in the weight of the canvas being used. Also, if you were able to take a picture of the back of one of your recent canvases and send that to me at ssands@goldenpaints,com that would be great and allow us to see the extent of the issue. Speaking more generally, while the concern with strikethrough is often couched in dramatic phrases, implying that the oil will “rot” the canvas, the reality is usually much more subtle and will take a long time to arise, if it even became a major factor at all. What happens is that the oil, as it oxidizes and ages, can slowly contribute to the canvas fibers becoming less flexible and more brittle. But keep in mind that canvasses become more fragile over time in general, and most older canvases end up getting relined (basically attached to a new fabric support) at some point in their life. So, while obviously unsightly and not desirable, unless the back of the canvas is dramatically saturated with oil, our guess is that you will be fine but that we should work with you to develop a process where this is not a factor to begin with.

      Reply
    • Hi Marian –

      Just to make clear one thing – at no point do you HAVE to sand, in terms of adhesion. It is purely something people will do to create a smoother surface.As for when, it can depend slightly on which approach you use. Many people will very very lightly sand after applying a size, such as GAC 400/100, RSG, or PVA, or after the initial coat of acrylic gesso, simply to knock back down any coarseness from stiffened threads or other imperfections of the canvas. But you want to have a very light touch here and not sand so much as to remove the size and make the canvas vulnerable to oil contact. After that, there seems to be two schools of thoughts and both have their adherents.One is a type of habitual light sanding after every coat of ground, trying to keep a very smmoth surfae at each stage. However you do not want to sand to the point of glossy smoothness here – just a light knocking back of brush texture. The other school is to build up multiple layers and then to sand a little more aggressively, knowing there is some thickness underneath to allow for a more substantial smoothing out.

      A couple of additional notes as well. One – NEVER sand a lead ground. As in NEVER EVER……the production of lead dust is too dangerous. So any smoothness you want with this ground needs to be done in the wet state. Second, with acrylic gessoes, wet sanding in particular can be very effective and is something worth trying.

      Hope this helps but if you have any other questions just ask!

      Reply
  3. Hi Sarah,

    Thank you for publishing your findings. It was an interesting read.

    I’m student at an academy of fine arts in Europe. I used to paint on Wood and primed with acrylic gesso from Golden.I recently made the change to canvas and home made ground and that’s where the nightmare began. The priming recipe for oil painting on canvas given by my teacher consists of Rabbit Skin glue, Champagne Chalk (with optional titanium white) and Lindseed oil varnish. I made the first 5 with him and got excellent results but since I have had to make them by myself, I lost a month of painting and so much material because all my primed canvas cracked, I cannot understand why…

    1)I mix 55g of RSG with1L of water overnight in the fridge
    2)Take one part of that with 2.5 Part of water and do one layer of sizing
    3) Take on part with 2 part Champagne Chalk with 1 Part water with 1/3 Lindseed oil varnish and use an electric mixer. Then I apply 3-4 coats

    The next day I arrive and everything show mini cracks. I can hear them if I press gentle on the back of the canvas

    I have asked 50 times my teacher and I swear I’m doing what I think he tells me, but obviously something I do is wrong… Do you have any idea what the problem is? do you recommend another method specifically

    I use cotton duck canvas which I stretch. It is for oil painting. I like firm tension but that can take some rough cloth rubbing and handling. Longevity and quality are very important to me.

    Thank you for any tips
    Best,

    Reply
    • Hi Selrak –

      Thank you for the comment and great question. What we would recommend, first and foremost, is for you to post your question on a new website called MITRA, which stands for Materials Information and Technical Resources for Artists. You can find that here:

      https://www.artcons.udel.edu/mitra/

      It is run by a major Conservation Department at the University of Delaware, which will give you access to the expertise of conservators that have experience with these types of more historical recipes. And we participate in the forum as well, so you will have the benefit of our input if it is needed.

      While we could try to suggest some causes of cracking, in truth this is not an area we know very well or have much experience in, and so would defer to the conservators that do.

      Please do post your question there. They respond very quickly and should be able to help.

      Best regards,

      Sarah Sands

      Reply
      • Hi again Selrak –

        As mentioned, i did post your question on MITRA and got a reply from Kristin deGhetaldi, one of the Conservators there:

        Moderator Answer
        ​Very interesting problem….first I would have to state that it is not advisable to use glue/oil/chalk emulsion grounds on flexible supports simply due to the fact that they tend to be too brittle and therefore are prone to developing cracks (a problem that you are already encountering). I am also not sure what “Linseed oil varnish” is….could you perhaps clarify? Does this oil contain a natural resin like dammar or mastic? If so that would certainly make the emulsion ground even more brittle (natural resins are not recommended for use in ground/priming layers due to their inherent brittleness). If you do choose to continue experimenting with these types of grounds on canvas you might look up some recipes that can be found in Kurt Wehlte’s book or Max Deorner’s text (both references are listed in the downloadable pdf called “Artists’ Manuals” that can be found in our Resources section). I myself played around with a recipe from Deorner’s text that applied to a reconstruction of a painting by Arthur Dove (again this can be found in our Resources section) on canvas:

        Max Doerner’s “Half chalk Ground” or “Tempera Ground”:

        “An equal measure of chalk and an equal measure of zinc white are combined with an equal measure of the glue-water mixture (same proportions as used for the sizing layer, 70g:1 liter). All three components are thoroughly mixed to which 1/3 amount of boiled linseed oil is added. After this has dried, apply further coats.”

        Mind you zinc white is now known to cause potential problems when mixed with drying oils (can cause chalking, brittleness, delamination, etc.) so you might use titanium white instead and/or up the amount of chalk. If you do decide to continue using glue/oil emulsion grounds on canvas please consider possibly mounting your canvas to a rigid support and recording your materials on the reverse of the painting. Both will help promote the longevity of your work!

        Kristin deGhetaldi

        If you wish to reply to Kristin’s questions,or further the discussion there, please go to the MITRA site:

        https://www.artcons.udel.edu/mitra/forums/question?QID=211

        Hope that helps!

        Reply
  4. I want to replicate a 100 year old parade banner It is velvet with intricate designs embroidered on the surface and has a large painting in the centre. The painting is a large circle about two feet in diameter. The banner was lost in a fire 40 years ago and I have only pictures to go by. I have primed canvas but it seems to heavy to paint and sew on the velvet. Do you have any suggestions on alternative materials I could use for the painting and how I would prime it. I am using oil paints for the picture. Thank you

    Reply
    • Hi Helen – Thanks for the question but as you can imagine it is always difficult to tell someone how to reproduce something from a distance and without intimate knowledge of the original. Also, a painting on velvet has a very distinct look and feel which another type of fabric would have a hard time reproducing. As for canvas, if you are using that only as a backing material onto which you will sew the velvet, there are certainly lighter weight alternatives you might consider.

      Probably the best thing to do would be to send an image – if you can – of the older piece, along with a description of your project including the size and where it will be hung, to our Materials and Applications Department at help@goldenpaints.com and someone there should be able to help further.

      Thanks again –

      Sarah

      Reply
  5. Hi!

    I started to use PVA on unprimed linen and encountered same problem as this;

    http://dianamosesbotkin.blogspot.no/2013/10/pva-horror-tale.html?m=1

    The raw linen was tightly stretched to a frame and later primed with PVA mixed with water, 1 part PVA to 5 parts water.. after one night of drying the canvas vad bulky on stretched but stiff to the touch.

    I made some smaller tests with different water content, all tests ended in the same way except the one with no water, but i really had a hard time getting the undiluted PVA on the canvas with a plastic scraper. The result was almost as good as rabbit skin glue but the PVA layer was uneven and was more like a thick plastic film on the canvas.. i have not tested PVA on linen before stretching it and thats next..

    Why does this happen?

    Reply
    • Hi John –

      Thanks for your questions. We have not done a lot of testing with PVA sizes as it is not a type of product that we make/ Also it is important to realize that there are a lot of different types of PVA and not all of them are appropriate for use as a size. You would want to at least make sure that the PVA was pH neutral and approved for archival artists’ use.

      Our own recommendation would be to look at using acrylic sizes instead of the PVA as they might have fewer problems and if using our two-step process, of first using GAC 400 to stiffen the canvas, then GAC 100 to block oil, you can get a reasonably stiff and tight canvas, although sometimes you can need to restretch or tighten the canvas afterwards if using linen or there are changes in the humidity.

      If wanting to pursue the use of PVA as a size, we would recommend posting your question to a site called MITRA (Materials Information and Technical Resources) operated by the conservation department at the University of Deleware. You can find that site here:

      https://www.artcons.udel.edu/mitra

      The conservators that manage the site would have much more experience using PVA in this way and could possibly provide suggestions to make your application more successful.

      Hope that helps!

      Reply
  6. Hi, Sarah,
    I have just finished stretching linen and I read this article with great interest before sizing the stretched linen. I used canvas pliers and staples to stretch the linen that I planned to size with GAC400/GAC100. The raw fabric was moderately tightly stretched but definitely needed some stiffening. The GAC400 seemed to work well: after it dried, the linen was nice and tight, although not quite as tight as the linen I sized with rabbit skin glue. However, it did seem to have some darker areas, which I just assumed represented slight unevenness in my brushing technique. Then I applied GAC100, and I consider the results, well, disastrous. The linen was (1) actually less tight than it had been right after the GAC400 application, and (2) worse, it had “rippled”: there were hills and valleys that seem to have hardened right into the surface. I have two of these supports, and I prepped each one slightly differently. On the first one, I’d squirted the GAC100 onto the surface, then used a brush to spread it around; I dipped the brush into water from time to time, and vigorously worked it to distribute the GAC100; when I did this, I noticed that the GAC100 seemed to turn white-ish before drying. The next day, when I saw the buckling in the fully dry fabric, I went back to my collection of Golden tech articles, and realized that the GAC400 was not waterproof. REasoning that I had perhaps used too much water in my brush when I’d applied the GAC100, I decided to apply a second coat of GAC100 to the buckled surface, and a first coat of GAC100 on the second support, but this time, I poured the GAC100 into a shallow container and brushed it on without rewetting my brush during the process. Long story short: that produced even worse results.

    Now I have many questions, starting with (1) what can I do to salvage my beautiful linen supports? I thought about spraying the back of the linen with water, or coating the back with GAC400, but I think either of those moves would be a mistake. (2) will it be possible to key out the support to get rid of the buckling? my sense is probably not. (3) Does linen take GAC400 differently than cotton does? would that explain the results I’ve gotten? (4) If I’d heat-set the GAC400, would that have prevented this problem?

    Any illumination you can offer would be much appreciated. I’ve got more linen to stretch, and I don’t want to have this problem ever again.

    Reply
    • Hi Ellen –

      We are sorry to hear you are having such difficulties. You are not alone in having problems with linen canvas as it responds to moisture differently than cotton canvas due to the nature of its very long fibers – becoming tight when wet, but slack when dry. This is something that is touched on in the following Info Sheet from Jim Bernstein, who wrote our Just Paint article on A Remarkable Way To Stretch Canvas

      https://justpaint.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/NumberThree.pdf

      As he mentions, traditional hide glue sizing tended to counteract these tendencies since it moved in the opposite directions, but unfortunately acrylic mediums have a much more difficult time keeping linen tight during the stretching process. That said, because GAC 400 is applied so thinly, and dries quickly to a stiff film, it can often be successful even with linen at an initial stage – but not always. In fact, we even mention this, albeit in passing, in our tech sheet on Preparing Painting Supports, under the section on Stiffening:

      “Stiffening Linen and Canvas

      GOLDEN GAC 400 functions very well in stiffening fabrics, especially cotton canvas. However, it is less effective on linen.”

      Our guess is that, while in your case GAC 400 appeared to work well, the additional layers of GAC 100 are introducing enough moisture to cause the linen fibers to initially swell but eventually slip past each other while drying, becoming slacker then it started out and causing the unevenness you are seeing.

      In terms of what to do, at this point, the only way I know to fix a linen canvas with these defects is to remove the staples and restretch it, preferably on a dry day. This is something I personally end up having to do for my own linen canvases quite often, especially on ones that are larger, and have simply built it into my process. Going forward, you might also look at doing the prestretching that Jim Berstein mentioned in the document shared above. You can certainly see if alternative sizes and grounds work better for you. For example, we know that 4 coats of an acrylic gesso will give about the same degree of stiffness, and if you keep the initial layers very thin you might find there is less buckling. As for the thought about heat setting GAC 400, while it might help lock in the stiffness more, heat setting on any large scale becomes cumbersome and not easy to do using a hairdryer.

      We wish we had a clearer and better answer for you. Linen has such a wide variance in weight, weaving, and sizing, while also being finicky in response to the environment, that it has been harder to research and come up with reliable instructions that will work equally well on cotton and linen. Because of that, we would also encourage you to reach out to Jim Berstein if needing additional advice about linen in particular as he is truly an expert in this area with decades of experience and research. You can reach him via his website at: http://www.jamesbernstein.com/James_Bernstein_Website/Home.html

      Thanks again for the questions and let us know if the restretching we recommend solves the issues, and going forward, if another combination of materials or process is more successful for you.

      Reply
  7. Very, very informative article. I’m somewhat new to the medium of oil paints, so my gathering of available information, especially, correct information is part and parcel of the learning process. However, the article treated with canvas as primary support. What are your recommendations with the use of boards or wooden panels?

    Reply
    • Hi Richard –

      Thanks for the warm words about the article. It is always great to hear that information we put out is useful. And welcome to oil painting! As you go forward if there is anything we can do to help, no matter how small, just let us know at help@goldenpaints.com.

      In terms of preparing panels for oil painting, you have a lot more leeway. We are personally big fans of MDO, medium density overlay, which you can find at well-stocked independent lumber yards, else might need to special order through Home Depot or Lowes.You can also read about it in our article on Preparing Panels for a Life Outdoors. Obviously that article is focused on preparing wood for extreme conditions, but certainly one could follow its recommendations even for panels living out a more comfortable life inside. If painting smaller pieces, hardboard panels like those made by Ampersand are also fine.

      For preparing any of these, a couple of coats of acrylic gesso or an oil ground is sufficient. Or combine the two ideas and use acrylic gesso followed by a thin coat of oil ground. One is not really concerned so much with oil penetrating through to the wood as it will not harm the wood in the same way as canvas. The main concern is usually wanting to lessen the absorbency and providing a white ground. To help prevent warping, we would also advocate for sealing the sides and back of the panels with, ideally, an alkyd-based wood primer since these are excellent moisture barriers. Alternatively, a polyurethane can also help. Using acrylic products, like GAC 100 or acrylic gesso, do not do much in terms of preventing moisture penetration as they are very porous by nature.

      Hope that helps and if we can do anything else, just let us know.

      Reply
    • Hi Grace – Yes, you certainly can and the same recommendations would hold since the main concern is oil strikethrough. However, being attached to a panel makes any concerns about stiffening the canvas somewhat moot. So from that standpoint, you can more freely pick the combination that appeals to you most.

      Reply
  8. don’t you think the weight or the weave of the canvas (linen) makes a difference as far as strikethrough is concerned? regardless of the number of applications of size it seems if a fiber is too porous or too thin the paint will bleed through. do you agree?

    Reply
    • We do agree, and even if the sizing can bridge the gaps in an open weave, you often still have pinholes where the ground comes through. On the other hand, very thin weaves likely get more saturated and coated by the size and even when there is strikethrough the fibers might be sufficiently protected to be okay. But ultimately it’s best to buy canvas or linen that is tightly woven – not simply because of strikethrough but because it will be stronger and more likely to distribute tension more evenly.

      Reply
  9. Hi
    As I see, it’s ok to use 3 coats of acrylic gesso, followed by the oil ground, or 2 coats of PVA glue followed by the oil ground. So, in the first case (acrylic gesso + oil ground), the acrylic gesso acts as a size too? I thought the acrylic gesso would require a size of glue before it. Would it be correct to use the first coat of PVA glue, the second and third coats of acrylic gesso, and then apply the oil ground? I ask because there isn’t this combination in the table. Great article!

    Reply
    • Hello Elisane,
      Thank you for your comment. Acrylic Gesso does act like a size, in that, with enough coats it blocks oil penetration. It can be applied directly onto raw fabric and requires a minimum of 3 coats to block oil. Where most of our clear acrylic mediums only require 2 coats to block oil penetration, Gesso requires 3 because it is more absorbent than the other products mentioned in the article, allowing the oil to soak further into the layer. It should be fine to simply apply 3 coats of Gesso then Oil Ground, OR, size the fabric with PVA size first, then apply Gesso over that followed by Oil Ground. Using two coats of Fluid Matte Medium should also be sufficient to block oil penetration and then Oil Ground can be applied over that. Here is a video showing the use of Fluid Matte Medium as a size and then the application of Oil Ground: https://www.williamsburgoils.com/videos/how-to-apply-titanium-oil-ground
      Ultimately, you want to make sure you have enough sizing product on the raw fabric to block oil penetration. Beyond that, it is about convenience and whether the sizing product, or combination of products, matches your preference for feel and ease of use.
      We hope this is helpful. Please follow up with additional questions at help@goldenpaints.com or call 800-959-6543 and ask for technical support.
      Best,
      Greg Watson

      Reply
  10. I oil primed a canvas and I can’t manage to get rid of the sand scratches, I used a 120 and 300 sandpaper.
    How can I get rid of the sand scratches? I add 2 coats of oil primed and waited for it to dry and then light sanded with 300 sandpaper but i can still see the scratches.
    thanks!

    Reply
    • Hello Lili,
      It can be challenging to remove all the minute scratches in a surface after sanding. Several thin coat of ground or color that have been thinned with solvent, either scraped on with a palette knife or brushed onto the surface may help. You may find that the scratches start to fill as you begin to build and brush color on the surface.
      Hope this helps.
      Greg Watson

      Reply
  11. I’m absolutely in love with your brand!

    I buy already primed rolls of good quality cotton duck. Which primer should I use on top of these ‘already primed’ canvasses? They say it’s not necessary, but I still want to do it because I don’t like the texture of the canvas. Just Golden Gesso?

    Reply
    • Hello again, Féline.
      Thank you for your kind words about our company, it means a lot to us!
      Regular GOLDEN White Gesso is a great start. You can also begin using other products to create a specific quality, such as the Pastel Ground, Absorbent Ground, Fiber Paste, etc. As with any acrylics, if you plan on applying oils over them, be sure to allow for at least 3 days of curing to help ensure the best mechanical bond between the paint and grounds.
      – Mike Townsend

      Reply
  12. Hello, can I apply Williamsburg Oil Ground to an already pre primed Belgian Linen ? If so, can I add pigments / oil colors to the mix ?

    Williamsburg Oil Ground would do the same job as this mix (Blanc de Meudon, linseed oil, alkyd resin) ?

    Thank you so much !

    Reply
    • Hi Louis – My first instinct is to say yes since a pre-primed canvas would be ready to accept oil paints, so really no reason why an oil ground should be any different. However, I would quickly caution that we have no way of knowing the composition of the primer and no direct experience applying our ground on top. The main concern would be if the priming contained zinc oxide, which has been linked to cases where the grounds became brittle over time and caused adhesion issues with overlying paints due to the formation of metallic soaps. For more information take a look at these articles:

      Zinc Oxide – Reviewing the Research

      Zinc oxide grounds in 19th and 20th century oil paintings and their role in picture degradation processes

      If possible, you might try contacting the manufacturer of the linen and seeing if they can tell you more from their end, especially concerning zinc oxide, and what their recommendations would be.

      As for whether our oil ground would do the same job as Blanc de Meudon combined with linseed oil and alkyd resin, I think it would come down to what you want in terms of quality. We have not used that other recipe, but in general chalk in oil would produce a more yellowing layer and, by itself, a less durable film – although the alkyd component should help in that aspect. But without a side by side comparison, which we have never done, I would not be able to speak to how they feel or perform differently from each other.

      Hope that helps a little. You might also want to ask this question over at MITRA, which is run by conservators who might have more experience with Blanc de Meudon. You can find that site here.

      Reply

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